Donald Penn

Texans To Meet With A.J. McCarron

The Texans are keeping themselves busy in the second week of free agency. On Monday, the Texans will meet with quarterback A.J. McCarron, according to Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). 

Furthermore, the Texans have some interest in former Raiders tackle Donald Penn, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. They’ll also meet with former Bills tackle Jordan Mills on Monday, a source tells Mike Florio of PFT (Twitter link).

Earlier this offseason, the Raiders said they’d be keeping McCarron in the fold for 2019. However, they had a change of heart along the way (or, they weren’t being entirely truthful about their intentions) and released the QB earlier this month.

It has been a strange few years for McCarron. In 2015, he started a few games in Andy Dalton‘s stead and showed some promise. Then, last March, he appeared to finally be on his way towards becoming a bonafide NFL starter when he hooked on with the Bills. Ultimately, he did not impress in his competition alongside Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen and was shipped to the Raiders. For the bulk of 2018, he held the clipboard and watched Derek Carr go 4-12 in his 16 starts.

McCarron could be a logical fit for the Texans, who may be looking for a new No. 2 behind Deshaun Watson. Last year, Brandon Weeden and Joe Webb served as Watson’s understudies, but both are free agents.

Penn, meanwhile, saw his Raiders run end over the weekend. The Raiders are moving forward with high-priced pickup Trent Brown, but Penn indicated that he plans to continue playing. The Texans, who have been forced to make adjustments on the fly at tackle, could be intently interested in adding someone with Penn’s pedigree.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Release Donald Penn

Donald Penn‘s run with the Raiders will end after five seasons. Days after signing Trent Brown, the Raiders are planning to release Penn, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets. The Raiders and Penn confirmed the move.

Penn’s Twitter post about his Raiders exit indicates he does not plan to retire. It also appears to state, through some additional capitalized letters, a desire to return to left tackle in 2019.

Involved in contract issues with the Raiders in each of the past two summers, Penn nevertheless retained his spot on their starting offensive line. Jon Gruden moved him from left to right tackle last season. The Raiders drafted tackles with their first two 2018 picks and authorized a tackle-record deal for Brown earlier this week. This pretty well indicated Penn’s time in Oakland was ending.

The soon-to-be 36-year-old blocker had $7.2MM coming his way this season. The Raiders will save $5.5MM by making this move. Penn’s redone contract guaranteed him $1.75MM in 2019, but he will have to continue his career elsewhere. For the Raiders, this bumps them back above $35MM in cap space.

Penn’s Raiders tenure included two Pro Bowls, in 2016 and ’17, but ended with an early-season injury in 2018. He started just four games last season, the injury leading second-round pick Brandon Parker into the starting lineup. Parker may now be set for a swing role, with Brown and Kolton Miller seemingly entrenched as the Silver and Black’s starters.

A longtime Buccaneers blocker, Penn arrived in Oakland in 2014 and was soon part of a top-tier offensive line. The Raiders in 2016-17 deployed three Pro Bowlers — Penn, Kelechi Osemele and Rodney Hudson — and in ’16 featured higher-end right-side blockers in Gabe Jackson and Austin Howard.

Penn, who also caught two touchdown passes as a Raider, started 66 games during his five-season run in Oakland. After this move and Osemele being traded to the Jets, only Hudson and Jackson remain from the Raiders’ 2016 playoff line.

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Raiders To Sign LT Trent Brown

The Raiders are making some serious noise in March. On Monday, the club agreed to sign former Patriots tackle Trent Brown to a four-year, $66MM deal, Adam Schefter of tweets. The pact, which includes $36.75MM guaranteed, will make Brown the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history. 

The league-wide dearth of quality offensive lineman has taken the OL market to previously unforeseen heights. Brown had an excellent platform season in his first (and only) year with the Patriots in 2018, but few expected him to break the bank in this fashion.

Last year, Brown started in all 19 regular and postseason games for New England en route to a Super Bowl championship. Pro Football Focus was bullish on his performance, ranking him 32nd among 80 eligible linemen.

The Raiders already had a left tackle in UCLA product Kolton Miller, but he’ll be shifted back over to the right side, Schefter hears (Twitter link). Miller, who many felt was a reach at No. 15 overall in last year’s draft, produced mixed results in his 16 starts last year. The youngster may have a greater comfort level on the opposite side of Brown.

Meanwhile, veteran Donald Penn is a “strong candidate for release,” according to Michael Gehlken of the Review- Journal (on Twitter). By cutting Penn, the Raiders can save $7.225MM against the 2019 cap. Due to injuries, the usually durable Penn was limited to only four games in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders’ Donald Penn Unlikely To Play

An official decision on whether to bring Donald Penn back off injured reserve won’t come for a couple days, head coach Jon Gruden says. However, Gruden does not anticipate the veteran offensive tackle playing again this season (Twitter link via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area). 

[RELATED: Raiders Designate Donald Penn For Return]

Penn was designated for return earlier this month, but that was a perplexing move by the Raiders on a few different fronts. First, the move blocked Marshawn Lynch from potentially playing in the club’s Christmas Eve home finale, which might have bought them some good will in Oakland. Secondly, the Raiders would risk being stuck with the entirety of Penn’s 2019 salary if he were to suffer a serious injury down the stretch.

As it stands, the Raiders have an escape hatch on the 35-year-old’s deal. If they want to release Penn in the offseason, they can 86 his contract with just $1.75MM left in dead money.

At 3-11, there’s little reason for the Raiders to roll the dice on Penn’s health, so he’s unlikely to see the field for the club’s final two games against the Broncos and Chiefs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Designate Donald Penn For Return

Left tackle Donald Penn will return to practice on Wednesday, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets. The move will trigger a three-week window for the club to bring him back from injured reserve. 

The move is a curious one for a few reasons. First, the Raiders’ season has been long over – at 2-10, winning will only serve to push the Raiders from the top of the draft order in April. Penn, meanwhile, may be a cap casualty candidate and a serious injury could leave the Raiders on the hook for his entire salary in 2019. As it stands, only $1.750MM of his 2019 income is guaranteed.

Also, by designating Penn for return, the Raiders are eliminating the possibility of Marshawn Lynch seeing the field again in 2018. The Raiders already burned one IR-DTR spot on defensive tackle Justin Ellis, so Lynch is now barred from playing in the club’s Christmas Eve home finale against the Broncos.

Penn appeared in 14 games for the Raiders last season, the first time in his career that he failed to appear in all 16 regular season contests. Pro Football Focus ranked him 23rd among eligible tackles, proving that the veteran still has something left in the tank. In his limited sample of four games this season, PFF gave him a putrid 47.0 overall score.

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Raiders Hoping For Donald Penn Return

Raiders offensive tackle Donald Penn has been on injured reserve since early October, but head coach Jon Gruden is still hoping to get him back on the field this season (via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area).

[RELATED: Raiders Want To Keep Doug Martin]

He has been downstairs rehabbing and we are hoping he can come back and help us,” Gruden said. “I don’t know how close he is officially, but he is making progress. Hope to have him on the field before the season is over.”

Of course, the 2-9 Raiders aren’t playing for much this year, so there’s little sense in putting Penn on the field if he is less than 100%. There’s also the matter of his contract. As it stands, only $1.750MM of his 2019 income is guaranteed. However, if he were to suffer a serious injury, the Raiders could be on the hook for his entire salary.

Also, activating Penn would rule out the possibility of a Marshawn Lynch return. The Raiders already burned one IR-DTR spot on defensive tackle Justin Ellis, so activating Penn would keep Lynch from playing in the team’s Christmas Eve home finale against the Broncos.

Penn appeared in 14 games for the Raiders last season, the first time in his career that he failed to appear in all 16 regular season contests. Pro Football Focus ranked him 23rd among eligible tackles, proving that the veteran still has something left in the tank.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders To Place Donald Penn On IR

Donald Penn suffered a groin injury in the Raiders’ overtime win over the Browns and will head to IR as a result, Ian Rapoport and MJ Acosta of report (on Twitter).

The team does not view this as a season-ending malady, Rapoport adds, and Jon Gruden confirmed as such. Penn would be able to return in eight weeks.

The Raiders are turning to another team’s practice squad to replace Penn on the roster. They’re signing tackle Ian Silberman off the Titans’ practice squad, Paul Gutierrez of reports. Silberman went to the past two Raiders training camps and started at right tackle during part of the preseason. He made the team out of camp but was waived before Week 1.

Second-round pick Brandon Parker will start at right tackle on Sunday, according to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur (on Twitter), giving Oakland two rookie tackle starters flanking three proven veterans inside. Parker’s played 57 snaps this season. Penn has logged 188 at his new position, but, at least in the view of Pro Football Focus, the transition from left to right tackle has not gone well. Penn’s graded as the league’s worst full-time tackle, per PFF.

Nevertheless, the Raiders hope he can be an IR-return candidate. Penn’s profile would suggest as much. This has been another interesting year for the veteran blocker. He was the subject of trade rumors coming into the season, and the 35-year-old tackle was moved off the left side — where Kolton Miller now resides — for the first time in his 11-year NFL career. This occurred despite Penn making the past two Pro Bowls.

This injury will represent the most time Penn has missed as an NFLer as well. Prior to last season, when he played 14 games, Penn had suited up for every game of his career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Big Ben, Raiders

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger landed in concussion protocol after absorbing a big hit in practice, but he is doing fine now and is expected to resume football activities soon, Jeremy Fowler of writes. Remarkably, this was Roethlisberger’s first time in the protocol, and fortunately it was a short stay for the 36-year-old.

Roethlisberger has said that his “long-term brain health” would play a role in the length of his NFL career, so the good news was certainly welcome for the Steelers QB.

Here’s more from the AFC:

AFC West Notes: Henderson, Broncos, Penn

Carlos Henderson has had a tough time so far in the NFL. After being taken with the 82nd overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Broncos, Henderson is yet to make his NFL debut. A hand injury cost him his entire rookie season, and he’s been away from the team this training camp for undisclosed reasons.

The team took Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton in the draft this year, making the receivers room very crowded with no clear spot for Henderson. To make matters even worse, Henderson was suspended for the first week of the season for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy reports Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (Twitter link).

It likely stems from his arrest back in January on marijuana charges. Given that Henderson was already being projected by many as a roster cut and still hasn’t reported to the team, at this point it would be surprising if the former third round pick remains in Denver much longer.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • The details are in on Donald Penn‘s contract restructuring with the Raiders. His cap number in 2018 has been reduced to $4.975MM (down from $8.38MM0, and he’ll get $2.75MM in extra guaranteed money on his deal for 2019, a source told Field Yates of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • The reason for Martavis Bryant‘s absence from the last couple of Raiders practices is migraines, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (Twitter link). Tafur adds that migraines have “plagued him for years.”
  • The Raiders placed veteran defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin on injured reserve with a biceps tear, according to Michael Gehlken of Las Vegas Review-Journal (Twitter link). To make up for the loss of Rubin, the team claimed defensive tackle Gabe Wright off waivers today.

West Notes: Rams, Donald, Raiders, Penn

The Chiefs gave up on Marcus Peters largely because of his conduct in the locker room. Peters was the source of many headaches in KC, but head coach Sean McVay says the Rams did their homework on the cornerback before trading for him this offseason.

You talk to the people that have been around him, that you really value their opinion, you trust it,” McVay said (via Lindsey Thiry of “Got a lot of good things that came back in terms of a guy that loves football, does a lot of really good things for his community.”

The Rams added other bold personalities on defense, including cornerback Aqib Talib and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, but McVay isn’t concerned about how everyone will gel. McVay feels that 71-year-old defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has “more swag” than all of them combined and has the ability to keep them in line.

Here’s more from the West divisions: